Do you want to know why you should visit Québec City?
Bear with me here, as it may take a moment for me to answer.
I just THINK the word, “Québec” and I am immediately flooded with happy feelings.
I may sigh a little and wish that I could hold your hand tightly, hoping that through the force of squeezing your fingers, you would begin to FEEL just how much I love this region in Canada.
Québec City IS MAGICAL!
I can list countless places to see that will take your breath away; hundreds of things to do that will spark your imagination and make you believe in the goodness of people; millions of foods to eat that will make you want to cry because your everyday diet will pale in desperate comparison.
But Québec City is much more than all of that…
Everyone talks about how the region feels European, as if that alone is reason enough for its allure. Visitors say that going to Québec is “like going to Europe without having to fly to get there!”
While true, these kinds of statements don’t do its magnetism or individuality justice.
Yes, there IS an old-world feeling to Québec City and its environs. It is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, rich in an intangible cultural legacy.
The surrounding landscapes are marked with wild beauty and rolling, abundant farms. The Québec province is known for its diverse and exceptional agricultural products. You will be tempted to stock up on its cheeses, wines, breads, and maple syrup.
Colonial French stone architecture and colorful Mansard roofed-homes sit side-by-side with beautifully engineered modern wood, glass, and steel structures. You can see the centuries pass as you walk down any street or visit any farm.
Listen and you will hear a distinct style of French being spoken. Around 50% of Québec’s residents are also bilingual (Frommers, 2018), making it an easy place for visitors from English-speaking countries to navigate.
And with all of that, Québec City is wholly its own; an amalgam of rich First Nation, French, British, & modern influences.
It’s uniqueness has a quality that will affect you entirely; you will feel as if you have come alive again.
Why do we go to Québec City year after year?
The Safety & Comfort
Politeness rules the day in Québec City and across Canada. Canadians are known for their courteousness and congeniality. (There is a legitimate truth behind that oft-characterization.)
The Province of Quebec has the lowest crime rate in all of North America, and is home to one of the safest metropolitan regions in Canada. As family travellers, we feel at ease in the city and in the surrounding countryside. Locals always say, “Bonjour!” and make eye contact in a non-threatening way. It is customary to greet friends with a double air-kiss to the cheeks.
Of course, common sense around safety is always in order. We navigate the region with our cell phones and mobile-based apps. Many US-based unlimited cell phone plans extend into Québec without roaming fees. We have let our teens navigate Québec’s Old City (Vieux Québec) on their own and we stay in touch via IM. Open WiFi networks are everywhere and are the best way to stay connected with your friends and family.
We appreciate the hospitality that extends beyond the hotels and restaurants. We have made friends in the region, as we travel there at least two times per year. The city is easy to navigate by foot, by car, rideshare, or by public transport.
At any time of the year, Québec is host to countless music, art, and food festivals. The city is filled with museums, restaurants, and galleries that beckon locals and visitors alike.
Over ONE weekend this past summer, we visited three major events in the city: the KWEI Festival celebrating aboriginal and indigenous people of Canada, the Flip Fabrique Circus just outside of the newly opened Grand Marché, and the Musée des Beaux Arts. The Musée played host to one of the world’s largest shows about Spanish Artist Joan Miró and was not to be missed. Its sister museum, the Musée de la Civilisation featured a spectacular exhibition of previously undiscovered colonial artifacts alongside its permanent collection. We adore the Aquarium du Québec – home to indigenous animals from land and sea, including a very large, whistling Walrus (“le morse” in French) named Boris, and a highly interactive display of sea rays.
Québec’s Carnaval is the highlight of the winter season. The city comes alive with hundreds of snow-centered activities, from axe throwing and log rolling, to maple sugar-on-snow and enormous ice castles. Carnaval is the largest winter festival in the world. The Night Parades alone are worth the trip, and feature the avuncular Bonhomme De Neige snowman, and the circus and acrobatic stylings that Québec province is famous for.
The food of Québec is an attraction in itself. Just 10 minutes from downtown Québec sits the Île d’Orléans, home to some of the region’s best produce, wine, bread, cheese, and maple syrup. Take a drive around the island and stop in for free tastings and tours with the producers.
Learn everything you need to know about where to eat in Québec City, and the stories of the local farmers and chefs on Youtube at Foodie Quebec. Watch as local broadcaster and writer Allison Van Rassel shares her tips about the cuisine of Québec. Her warm manner and journalistic style help showcase the best food stories of the region. Read her weekly roundups at her Foodie Quebec website.
Québec hosts a wide range of accommodations – from small boutique hotels and B&Bs, to AirBnBs apartment rentals, and the world-famous luxury hotel, Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac.
As Québec is an immensely walkable city, and small bakeries, cafés, and grocery stores are around every corner, (even in the Old City), we highly recommend apartment rentals for those travelling with large parties. If you are in the Old City, there is plenty of inexpensive overnight parking, as most AirBnBs do not have parking as part of their fee. Find out more about where you can park here.
AirBnB has a large variety of rentals to choose from at every budget. You can see the listings right on their website. The pricing allows large groups to travel and stay together on a budget, and for you to try your hand at cooking up some of the regional specialties.
For mid-priced hotels, we love the Le Hotel Vieux-Québec (HVQ). Its rooftop gardens and beehives are lovely to see in the summer, and its own produce is used at the in-house restaurant, Bistro Tournebroche. The hotel stay includes a hearty breakfast that comes in a basket delivered to your door. HVQ is centrally located in the Old City and the street outside perfect for people-watching year-round.
We enjoyed Hotel Chateau Laurier, just outside of the walls to the Old City. Walk out of the back doors onto the Plains of Abraham to take in some fresh air, incredible views, and a bit of local history, or make your way into the adjacent tony neighborhood of Montcalm. There you will find museums, local bistros and wine shops that will welcome you like a local.
If you want to splurge, Le Chateau Frontenac is singular and boasts the best view of the Saint Lawrence River AND some of the finest restaurants in the Old City. The rooms are beautifully appointed and the beds are heavenly. Its room service menu is hands-down our family favorite. We still talk about the pasta with cream and local cured ham, and the pizza made from brioche dough and Charlevoix cheeses.
For more information about all-things-Québec, go to the Québec City Website. Not only is it a WEALTH of information, but also serves as a portal to start a live chat with someone who can help you with any questions you may have.
We would love to hear your tips about visiting Québec City and what you have enjoyed in your travels! Bon Vacances!
-Kristin et Famille
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It is a part of the world that has inspired and motivated artists for centuries.
Visit just once, and you will immediately know why it serves as both muse and escape; as refuge and lover. You can see it in the landscape and taste it in the air. The rolling mountains wind down to the shoreline; the craggy rocks and islands are marked with tall evergreens that stand sentinel over its harbors.
The village of Rockland in Midcoast Maine cherishes its reputation as a mecca for artists. It celebrates and supports classic and contemporary work – showcasing both in local museums, galleries, and shops.
Rockland is a short drive from Portland, Maine and Boston, Massachusetts. There is so much to do that you can plan a full, active weekend, or a leisurely vacation.
Its mission states that it celebrate’s “Maine’s role in American Art” and that charge is on full display in each of the Farnsworth’s beautifully appointed galleries. A signature institution in Maine and across the United States, the Farnsworth’s collection features works from American masters including The Wyeth Family, Louise Nevelson, Alex Katz, and Robert Indiana. Rotating exhibitions like “Slab City” and its progressive children’s school programs, bring the legacy of Maine’s impact in the art world to life. The museum is a must-see while in town.
Exit the Farnsworth and you will find yourself face-to-face with the charming Caldbeck Gallery. Artists like Katherine Bradford and Sam Cady have their work on display in rotating exhibitions. The charm of the gallery comes not only from the art, but the connection and accessibility to the proprietors Cynthea Hyde and James Kinnealey. You can easily end up in a wonderful conversation about color and light, or the playful use of brushstrokes.
The Center for Maine Contemporary Art moved from neighboring Rockport in 2016 to a refurbished section of the Rockland working waterfront. Architect Toshiko Mori designed the space to seamlessly fit into the downtown lot, successfully capturing the feeling that the CMCA has “been there forever” and is also new, breathtaking, and deeply original.
Exhibitions at the CMCA are outstanding, the likes of which locals and visitors are known to exclaim: “THIS is in Maine?!” The CMCA answers with an astounding, “Yes!” Chief Curator and Executive Director Suzette McAvoy and her team work to support contemporary artists and local school programs with their open house classes and rotating exhibits. You will know what “Wow!” really means when you visit the CMCA.
Find yourself in an engaging visitor’s center that successfully combines education, engagement, and the arts – all of which support programs to renew and protect Maine’s precious shore wildlife and habitats. Situated just off of Rockland’s Main Street, the center features a life-sized coastal habitat that brings a shore bird sanctuary to life. Children and adults alike can play in dories and on the rock ledge, placing eggs and models of birds in stone nests.
The main building is home to an education center and gallery, filled with work by professional artists and local children. Educational programs run year-round and guests can learn how to visit the coastal bird sanctuaries.
This historic Ice-House-turned-Chocolaterie is the home of Bixby Chocolate. Owner Kate McAleer is an outstanding confectioner, and the fruit of her labor can be seen in the tasting room and on the shelves of the Chocolate Store.
The outfit grinds and conches its own chocolate, creating a signature coverture that is unique to Rockland, Maine. Kate and her father Gordon McAleer purchase cacao beans from Fair-Trade purveyors around Central and South America. Take a tour and learn how the Bixby team makes their signature sweets from bean-to-bar.
This sweet Main Street Café serves up fresh sandwiches and signature salads in sizable portions. Proprietors Jackie and Glenn Lawrence combine their love for their family’s Scottish History and cuisine at the café. The menu is themed around the names of their family members. Salads like the “Lorelei” made with chicken, apple, grapes, feta, walnuts, red onions, and spring greens are sensational; the “Breton MacLaren” is piled high with turkey, provolone, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, and olives, is deeply satisfying.
Get your lunches packed to-go and take it out to the Breakwater to enjoy views of the harbor.
Chef Lynn Archer opened this signature Maine Coast restaurant in a former corporate boathouse. The menu is comprised of hearty New England classics, made from scratch daily. Archer’s food is gorgeously executed – the crab rolls are packed with fresh meat and are served up with hand-cut french fries. The chowder is creamy and light, full of littleneck clams, herbs, and diced potatoes. Take a stroll to Archer’s from downtown along the Rockland Harbor Walking Trail.Ask for a table on the deck and enjoy views of the Breakwater and working waterfront.
Get your “Flamingo On” at this staple of the Maine Midcoast. Beloved Chef and AuthorKerry Altierois a fixture on the seacoast for good reason: His food and hospitality have been pleasing guests for over 25 years. Café Miranda was at the helm of the region’s food renaissance. The portions are markedly generous and the menu is beyond extensive. There is something for everyone.
Try the “LET’S GET DANGEROUS” -fire roasted house cured tamarind glazed leg of duck spiced with Szechuan peppercorn & clove, served with Asian egg noodles, garlic, ginger, basil & spinach in a coconut curry peanut sauce. Share a signature pizza like the “SLEEPER” – topped with cured smoked beef, artichokes, red onions, parsley, mozzarella & romano cheese.
The side porch is great for pre-dinner drinks and taking in the signature flamingoes that are part of the café’s decor.
This newly rebuilt, refurbished, and reconstructed hotel has been a mainstay for ferry-goers and day-trippers to Maine’s Islands. Now, after its total refresh, it is the perfect weekend home for visitors to Maine’s Art Capital. Every room overlooks the harbor and the sunrise is spectacular. The beds are heavenly, as are the linens and pillows – you won’t want to get up even though the sunrise and fresh coffee are calling. Enjoy in-room coffee from your deck, and fill up on a full, hot complimentary breakfast in the lobby that includes, waffles, fruit, cereal, eggs, muffins, bacon and eggs, juice and of course, more coffee.
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Study Abroad – A Parent’s Perspective on travel & letting go
My oldest daughter just landed in Shanghai for her first Study Abroad program.
I am happy she is in China safely. I have been watching the clock and calculating the 12 hours ahead, following happily along with her initial itinerary. I imagine she is full of excitement and exhaustion from the long flight.
I have to admit: Sending her off for her study abroad was somewhat of a relief. The days and weeks of planning amidst all of our other life events made for a wee bit of stress.
Well, maybe MORE than a wee bit of stress…
It was at times fun to plan, pack, and fantasize about the sights and food in China. It was also fertile ground for power struggles, family sit-down chats, and self-check-ins about my OWN energy that was clouding the planning process.
I am feeling all-the-feels, as it is de-rigueur to say. I am happy. I am a wreck. I am filled with excitement, and riddled with anxiety-based-what-if travel scenarios.
This is not the first time that we have been apart for long periods of time. Both of our girls have gone away to camp for several weeks each summer. I loved the time to myself to breathe and rest, as much as I appreciated all the new and fun experiences that they were having.
Right now, summer camp feels like child’s play compared to the preparation and planning for a study abroad in a majorly far away country.
To backtrack for a moment…
Both of my children study Mandarin Chinese. I KNEW that when they picked this course of study (and yes, it was a decision that the girls discussed and debated with us at-length before making their choices), that a study abroad program in China would be in their future. I, myself have studied several Romance languages and I lived in both Mexico and Italy for long periods of time and LOVED it.
Immersion was THE THING that took my language skills from perfunctory classroom recitation to fluency. I was confident that my girls would undertake the same kind of program in their own lives.
The China trip was announced over two years ago, as her teacher and school knew that we needed time to plan, to fundraise (travel ain’t cheap!), and to get everything we needed together. My daughter began a plan to babysit several days a week during the summer, and socked money away week-after-week. She launched her own “Go Fund Me” campaign (with a little parental help) and asked for donations.
She raised the required $4,500 for her trip. We felt so proud of her efforts and the seed that was planted began to grow into full-blown excitement.
For ME, stress began to mount over what felt like a huge burden of “What-Ifs.”
It went a little something like this:
We live rurally. Will my daughter know how to get on and off a city bus? Will she know how to handle her money? Will she look both ways before crossing the street? Does she know how to carry her bag across her shoulder to keep it snug and safe from pickpockets? How will she cope with the huge crowds? Will she need to use her kickboxing skills in real-time? Will she put on enough sunscreen? We she dress modestly? Will she stay hydrated? Does she know how to treat herself if she gets diarrhea/nausea etc? And on, and on, and on….
Any scenario, I have imagined it.
I found myself getting mired in a feeling of inadequacy that I had not better prepared her for EVERY LIFE SCENARIO that could possibly come her way. (Yes, I know how insane this sounds! Hooray for Mom Guilt!) ……Like there was some kind of international boot camp I should have put her through in order to be properly prepared for study abroad and also wilderness and city survival.
I was gently and lovingly reminded by my patient-as-a-saint-husband, that our lives together have been the training she needs. We have travelled A LOT with our children and they have paid attention. We have included them in the preparations. We talk to our kids about safety. We model and LIVE the kinds of relationships we want them to have.
My daughter is smart-as-a-whip, compassionate, and highly organized.
I needed to SEE and ACKNOWLEDGE that about her.
My husband also reminded me that travel IS also the bootcamp. That these experiences are how she will learn to trust herself.
He also reminded me that the gift of OUR TRUST would help set her on that path of self-awareness and connectedness that comes from travel.
Ahhhh………That was it: TRUST.
I found myself reaching out to friends who have studied abroad, and who have experienced similar emotions with their own families.
My friend Marina shared with me: “I always felt that they [my parents] had the trust in my abilities to figure it [Travel Abroad] out, they are very proud and supportive of me and honestly, it made our relationship so strong and special. I absolutely love my parents. Now, as a mom myself I understand how hard it must’ve been for them to let me fly into the unknown and let go of control. It is the ultimate parental sacrifice to let go of your child.”
She articulated about TRUST so well.
My friend Jude stated in regards to her son’s travel abroad: “I love watching it. It is filled with the beauty of being young so far away from what you know, and the joy of being together in the experience of what you don’t. What a time this will be for your baby who has grown like a glorious flower opening to welcome the warmth of the sun.”
I am grateful for have they have shared.
So… have you been through something similar in letting your child study abroad? Did you, yourself travel far from home and feel a range of emotions? I would love hear from you.
Want to stay in touch? Like us on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our email list to follow along for the latest updates and social media storytelling classes. My goal? To help you feel confident, competent, and creative online.
How to share your tourism destination on Social Media.
What is the best way to share your business on social media? I don’t know about you, but when I lay in bed at night, scrolling through my iPad, searching for the next latest-and-greatest place I want to visit, I tend to stop and linger at pretty pictures and videos or real people doing fun and engaging things.
I am not alone in this.
Over 45% of the world’s total population are on social media, spending on average, 2.5 hours per day on social networks and in messaging apps.* (Hootsuite, 2019)
Social media users love travel photos and destinations profiles.
Travelers want what is REAL and RELEVANT. They want to be shown what it would truly be like to travel to a destination, and what to expect along the way. Travelers want to connect with the EMOTION of the experience, long before they step foot in the hotel lobby, or get in their car to the airport.
How can YOU, dear gentle business owner, benefit from this knowledge and cater your social media marketing to potential tourism and hospitality customers?
It’s as simple as 1-2-3 to market your Tourism and Hospitality Business on Social Media.
I promise you, your marketing outreach will be SO much easier if you do a bit of planning ahead. You KNOW that the “spray and pray” method of throwing up a social post here and there does not work. It is ineffective and causes social media burnout. It makes you question, “Why am I doing this at all?”
A little creative brainstorm and a quick run-down list can make all the difference in your staying power on social media.
Jot down the answers to the following questions: (Sample Business Draft for the purpose of demonstration: Fairwinds Coastal Resort in New England)
What do we share for sales and specials for our Tourism and Hospitality Business? Pre-Memorial Day 40% for stays more than 2 nights; 25% off stays in June or July of 7+ continuous days.
What can we post seasonally? Staff profiles; Photos of rooms types; Wedding events; On-site and off-site catering
What special events, including charity events do we do? Our Local Brews & BBQ Weekend; Our Kids Fairy Festival in May; Our Lobster Roll Festival in August
What are some behind-the-scenes parts of our business we can share? Set up for a wedding; Opening of the pool; Videos of the chef prepping in the kitchen.
Then, fill in your month of social media posts ideas:
Week 1: Share photos of the past Local Brews & BBQ Events with a link to ticket sales; Share a series of photos from a couple who were married on the property with a link to the sales team phone number.
Week 2: Share our seasonal sales specials with a direct link to our booking page; share photos to the property to get people exciting about the upcoming season.
Week 3: Share photos and brief bios of the staff. Share photos of the newly refurbished rooms with link to booking page.
Week 4: Post photos of the Fairy Festival with links to the gift shop and our collection of fairy house books; Share photos of our chef making lobster rolls and ask guest to share their photos of when they ate lobster rolls on property.
One of my favorite quotes: “Chance favors the the prepared mind.” The same goes for YOU and your social media planning. The better the outline and plan, the better your chance of reaching your marketing your goals.
Credit -Louis Pasteur
2. SHARE USER GENERATED CONTENT
Guess what? You don’t have to do all the work. That’s right, you heard me!
You can look up what people have posted about their stay, and then SHARE that on your social media. In fact, this is a GREAT way to fill up your social media posts as both a regular part of your weekly plan AND when you are feeling that low-motivating-oh-dear-I-feel-so-uncreative-kinds-mood.
Here’s what you need to know:
YOU MUST get permission. YOU MUST credit the photo and/or source link that you repost. As a business owner, you need to follow the ethical guidelines set forth by all-that-is-respectful in the world.
Share what is referred to as “User Generated Content” in your social media posts. Make sure to give credit and celebrate the fact that your customers are acting as ambassadors. It’s easy and it looks like this:
Sample outreach to client —-
“We loved what you posted on Facebook. We are so happy you enjoyed your stay. We would like to share it with our users and credit you and your account. Would you be comfortable if we shared it on our Facebook page? Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.” And then post away dear friends!
3. Be of SERVICE
Let’s face it: The WHOLE point of social media is to be of service.
Before the sales, before the song-and-dance, we are here to be of SERVICE and to help our clients.
Ask yourself this question: Is what I am posting online helpful? Does it help my clients see the full range of services that we offer? Does it help them make a decision about booking with us?
To put it another way, are you walking into the room and using a bullhorn to brag about your business and then walking away? Or are you purposefully asking questions, introducing yourself, and listening to what is going on? If its the latter of the two, then you are being of service.
Everything you post for your business on social media should be planned and purposeful, providing both future clients and return guests a chance to share and shine.
Have any questions or need further help? Like us on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to our email list to follow along for the latest updates and classes. Our goal? To help you feel confident, competent, and creative online.
I have a great solution for you when it comes to what to post on social media.
We ALL — and I MEAN WE ALL have times when the words don’t flow as easily from our fingertips as we had hoped; or we have impostor syndrome and we don’t think we are good writers; or we just don’t feel like posting..and blah blah blah.
I get it.
I fall back on this simple formula of 5 Tips for Amazing Social Posts ALL-THE-TIME. It helps me to stay focused and get creative even when I feel as juicy and exciting as a piece of cardboard.
These steps help me to stay-on-task as a business owner who uses social media as one of my primary marketing tools. It is crucial that my posts be purposeful and a means-to-an-end, whether it be feel-good branding or targeted sales. (The “Spray-and-pray-haphazard-method of social media posting is a sure-fire way to burn out and lose, rather than engage, an audience.
I remember the mantra: “All you need is already within you. You are creative and powerful” and then I take these steps:
5 Tips for Amazing Social Media Posts
Start with a hook in the form of a question or quote.
Share your personal perspective and expertise.
Add great photos or video to bring your posts to life.
Include a link to your business/booking page.
Ask your followers to share & comment.
Formulas help me know that I am on-task and on-target in my business goals, and this outline does the trick.
I invite my community in by asking a question; I share myself, which is an important part of my connection to my customers; I show a photo or video because I know this is part of getting good visibility; I make sure to link back to my business; I invite them to share and be part of the conversation.
Have you ever driven a vintage truck? (Tip 1)
I drive an old Ford F150 all through college that I bought for $500 cash. I called it “Beatrice” because it meant “blessed.” That’s the way I felt in that old truck and I loved it. (Tip 2)
You can see all of the vintage truck we have on our lot here: ArundelFord.com (Tip 4)
Did you ever drive a vintage F150? Do you have a photo? We would love to have you share it in the feed below. (And let us know if you had a name for it!) (Tip 5)
And make sure to jump back to Tip 3 to share a photo with every post you do. It doubles your engagement!
Do you have a post formula you like to use? You can download my mantra and my 5 Tip Outline here for your desktop when you sign up for my mailing list. CLICK HERE. I don’t spam or sell your information ever.
Let me know your tips and tricks for great posts on the Facebook Page.
A special thanks to the team at Arundel Ford for letting me share one of their posts. They are incredible clients I Iove helping them tell their stories on social media.
Lumbar Punctures, ER Visits, & a Sense of Humor with Chronic Illness
I layed on the gurney, looking at the IV bag and the rapid drip of the caffeine and sodium benzoate into my arm. It was a busy Friday in the emergency room. I listened to the sounds of a man wretch repeatedly in the next bay. I watched the rush of staff move back and forth down the halls to attend to a steady stream of patients.
I was triaged from a hallway stretcher to a brightly lit private room – its equipment all tagged by someone supremely excited to exercise their skills with a label maker. I appreciated their fastidiousness. I studied the sizes of the intubation tubes as I laid back in the hopes of physical relief.
Prior to this ER visit, I had experienced several days of a crunching, body- seizing kind of pain that would not bend to ibuprofen and increased hydration. I had a lumbar puncture just days before; a next step in a long series of diagnostics on the road that is neuro-demyelinating disease. The procedure itself went smoothly. It was high-tech, pain-free, and without incident. I went home numbed up and relaxed, intent on “taking it easy” and resuming a slower, but engaged pace of day-to-day life.
Do you ever wonder what talk about on social media? Do you get excited to use social media for your marketing, but then lose steam after a few posts and then give up?
I hear you.
We have all been there. The stops. The starts. The lack of feeling creative. The need to take care of EVERYTHING else in your business and Social Media becomes ONE-MORE-THING you need to juggle.
Fret not, fellow business friend. I am here to help. I have a full-proof tip to share with you, so that you know what to post on social media.
Here it is: ASK A QUESTION OF YOUR AUDIENCE
Yes. THAT is what you should talk about on social media for your small business.
You should ASK A QUESTION of your community, the likes of which YOU are asked all of the time. As business owners, we solve problems everyday and answer questions.
Some juicy and/or mundane examples may be:
What kinds of service do you offer on old cars? Can you mail a package to Borneo? Do you offer small party catering? What time is your 3 o’clock seminar? Can you hem pants AND dry-clean clothes? Do you have evening hours? How much for drop-in child care? Do you allow dogs in your hotel?
You get the calls. You read your emails. You have the lady that wants to hang out, chit-chat, and then pepper you with questions about pairing wines and cooking for 20 people at the holidays. You know the drill and you answer these kinds of business questions EVERYDAY.
Guess what folks? These questions are AMAZING fodder for social media posts.
Click Through for a step-by-step video on “How to Ask Questions of your Audience on Social Media.”
Now that you know WHAT to do, it’s time to take action and get posting on social media.
Take a look at the steps below, and download a brainstorming guide to help get the juices flowing.
When you look at the most commonly asked questions, feel free to provide an answer directly in the post, or leave it open ended for your community to respond. Here is an example: “Have you ever come to on of our yoga classes? We would love to hear feedback from you!” or “We are asked if we fix older models of cars in our shop all the time. Here are some photos of the antique autos we have repaired. Have you seen them on the road? Share your antique auto photos below or call us for a repair at 555-1212.”
Make sure to ask in a way that encourages a response. Our social media business posts are seen on average by 2-5% of our TOTAL audience. Up-the-ante by creating a “Ask a Question” post and over time, you can improve your visibility ten-fold.
Use this as an opportunity to connect with your community. The more you respond, the stronger the connection between you and your clients. (AND, the more comments and feedback, the better your posts perform, and are shared with a wider audience.)
If you get a customer with a legitimate concern, offer to take the conversation offline and provide a direct phone # for them to call. If they get nasty, inappropriate and/or abusive, delete it and/or block them. We WILL get concerns and comments. There is NEVER a call for abuse or snarkiness.
So, when you wonder: “What do I post on social media for my small business?” you NOW know what to do.
Remember: My goal is to help you feel CONFIDENT, COMPETENT, & CREATIVE online.
A new way of loving myself deeply: My diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis.
I went to the doctor yesterday and she told me: “Kristin: THIS is the hardest part – the part when you are waiting to begin treatment and it is all so new. You don’t need to be UP or ON or optimistic. It’s totally okay to NOT be okay right now.”
I broke down into tears and she handed me a wad of Kleenex from one of the six boxes in the examination room that upon closer look, seemed to be strategically placed near every piece of equipment. It was as if she knew that at any moment of the medical evaluation, whether on the table or at the scale, patient tears may flow, and she wanted to be at-the-ready to lend a tissue.
With her words “It’s totally okay Not to be okay” a weight was lifted and I opened up like a flood gate. It was like she had been reading my mind and saw straight through me.
I had been chatty at the start of the exam; funny even. I made jokes when she asked me: “How are you feeling today?” and I quipped with a talk show host accent, “Well other than the brain lesions, constant pain, and near paralyzing exhaustion, I am totally great!”
The truth was, I was NOT okay and the past three weeks since my MRI and first round of diagnostic appointments, I had tried to mask my fear with dignity and positive self-talk mantras. I told myself, “Multiple Sclerosis was not what it used to be,” and “I am going to be fine.” I tried to jump right into a fearless faith without acknowledging the worry and fear that bubbling just below the surface.
In truth, I didn’t feel fine.
I felt supremely scared of the unknown; of not knowing what to expect for treatment; of the unplanned-for expenses; for how much I would or wouldn’t be able to work; for who I would be if I weren’t always doing/being/trying so much.
Multiple Sclerosis: What does it mean?
What do I mean when I say that I have Multiple Sclerosis or MS?
In a nutshell, It is a chronic disease where the body attacks itself. The immune system attacks the nerves in the body and breaks down the fatty protective coating of the nerve cells called the Myelin sheath. Without the protective layer in place, nerves become damaged and the brain can’t send signals to the body the way that it should to help you move properly and to feel, both emotions and physical sensations. Scar tissue can show up in the brain and spine and begin to affect the activities of daily living.
There are four kinds of MS and everyone who has it experiences it differently. It tends to run heavily in white women who live in northern climates, (there is a connection with lack of Vitamin D and MS) although anyone can get get it. There is some link with MS to viral exposure that occurs in puberty, the effects of which can lay dormant for many years. It is chronic and incurable, however not untreatable.
The disease I was not expecting, but the change I truly needed.
No one ever expects Multiple Sclerosis. When my diagnosis came, it conjured up images of wheelchairs, paralysis, endless drip bags and infusion therapy, and loss of independence.
That is the way that it was in the not-so-distant past.
Current treatment is radically different from what it was even a decade ago. I have been assured by my doctors, and both my friends and family who know someone with MS, that “these people are the most kick-ass people that they know.” (I have heard this over and over again and I am optimistic about the carpe-diem, fact-facing hard-coreness that comes with chronic disease.)
My patient advocate even asked me: “Are you ready to stop tolerating any bullshit in your life?” Once I got over the Tony Robbins-esque tenor in her voice, I said a grunting “YES!” with the same kind of teeth-gritting tenacity and relief I felt after the labor and delivery of my 1st daughter.
Truthfully, I had not felt well for months.
I worried that I was in a cycle of depression and that my severe lack of motivation was a result of some cosmic judgment on my capabilities as a human. (Yes, quite dramatic – but I am never one to go at things quietly!) This kind of bad stretch had happened before and I had cycled through, feeling some relief and then onto progress, growth and elation in my life.
This past autumn, I felt like I had been running in mud – way more tired than the working-mom-tired I had normalized since I had kids, and scared of the weird changes in my vision, the lightheadedness, and the dizzying nausea. I had chalked it up to my busy travel schedule and promised myself that I would schedule myself differently in the new year.
I was beginning to turn on myself, telling myself crappy stories like: “You just need to work harder. You are not enough and will never be enough. You are never going to make it in this life.” While on the one hand I knew these thoughts were lies and just plain wrong, there was another part of me that believed it – the part that I had worked so hard to change and transform.
I had an old story that was trying with every thought to keep a grip on my life. It found fertile ground in my fatigue and illness. I told myself such shitty things and bullied myself. I thought I was cursed and that I somehow I deserved to suffer.
Then came the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis
Was it a weird sense of relief? Yes. It totally was.
The first thing I actually said to my husband was: “This is a gift” and I meant and felt that wholeheartedly.
It was almost instantly that I reframed everything that I was saying to myself about my symptoms. I realized that many of the cycles I had experienced in the past were probably part of the disease course. It was an opportunity for me to observe that self-doubt and blame in a new light. I laughed about it. I cried, and then laughed and cried some more. I realized that I didn’t need be so hard on myself and that “bad thoughts” were just thoughts, and feeling fatigued was just feeling – and not some greater judgment on my abilities as a human. I needed to be okay with it ALL – and let all the feelings flow through.
Now, as I step into therapy, I realize that the most significant treatment will come in the way that I treat myself. The biggest opportunity is to be present, to observe, and to be fully loving toward myself in everything that comes my way.
My friends have asked me: “What can we do for you to help you?”
My reply? “Tell me stories of people who have succeeded and overcome, and let’s kick some ass in everything that we do.”
More to come as treatment continues and I continue on my path of radical self-love.
Get Organized and Ready for 2019: Social Media Consulting & Instruction.
Are you in need of a social media boost for 2019?
Do you want to get in-depth, personalized training on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter, or Pinterest for your business?
Do you need step-by-step instructions and a clear path ahead on how to BEST use social media for your business?
Then this is the package for you!
At Kristin F. Simmons, my goal is to help you feel competent, confident, and creative in your social media marketing.
It is my goal to help you get the most from your marketing outreach and maximize your engagement through connected, relevant, and engaging stories.
Social Media Marketing is cost effective – especially when you know how to use it and use it WELL!
The HOLIDAY Package includes:
A 2-hour, custom, one-on-one lesson on the social media platform of your choice.
A comprehensive review of ONE of your social media accounts and a personalized, detailed recommendations for improvement and how to best maintain and use your social media accounts. (Consistency is KEY to mastering social media for business!)
A Detailed 3-Month Editorial Calendar with daily, weekly and monthly post planning to help you reach your 2019 Business goals.
A 1-hour post training follow-up Skype call to review best practices and troubleshoot.
BONUS! Three custom designed photo & graphics posts to use on your social media platforms.
Regular price: $1,500 HOLIDAY SALE PRICE: $799
Only 5 packages are available until they are sold out for the season!
Terms: All sales final. Maine State Sales Tax included. Buyer must send phone and email address to Kristin F. Simmons at email@example.com to schedule trainings. Payment must be made via PayPal. All initial trainings must be complete by June 1, 2019.